New Addiction Intervention program empowers loved ones to help addicts

By Brittany Schock, Richland Source

October 11, 2017

MANSFIELD - An addict's loved ones will now have the tools to help them recover thanks to a new program from Family Life Counseling and Psychiatric Services.

The organization at 151 Marion Ave. recently launched a new Addiction Intervention Program, with the purpose of providing guidance and utilizing the love and influence of families to help those suffering from addiction.

"This is a way that families and friends can reach out to that person and ask them to get help in a loving way," said Traci Willis, intervention program and community networking coordinator with Family Life Counseling.

"Historically, intervention is more like an emotional ambush towards somebody, and this isn't directed like that at all," she said. "Your addiction affects more than just you."

The Addiction Intervention Program is the first of its kind in Richland County, and made possible by a $47,500 commitment from the Richland County Mental Health and Addiction Services Board. This is enough to fund 100 intervention sessions, or $475 per group.

Joe Trolian, executive director of Richland County Mental Health and Addiction Services, said he hopes the Addiction Intervention Program will serve as a way to empower families to take an active role in engaging their loved ones in effective treatment.

"Many families have felt helpless as they have watched their loved ones destroy their lives," Trolian said. "This will allow the treatment community to tap into one of the most effective resources in helping someone to find recovery, and that is family support."

The Addiction Intervention Program challenges the notion that loved ones cannot help addicts until they have hit rock bottom. Instead, it leads an addict's loved ones through an eight-step program that gives them the tools to intervene and help stop the use of dangerous substances.

The first step in the program is an assessment with a trained interventionist, talking about the relationship to the addict and explaining the intervention process, and developing an intervention team of the addict's loved ones. The second step is meeting the intervention team and making sure everyone understands the process.

The third step in the program is the loved ones writing a letter to the addict and critiquing those letters, and the fourth step is intervention rehearsal. The actual intervention doesn't come until the fifth step of the program.

"If you're prepared, it has to be step-by-step and well understood and thought-out," Willis said. "Some people that go for an intervention right off the bat, it can be overwhelming for all parties involved."

The sixth step in the program is the treatment process for the addict, the seventh step is continuing care, and the eighth step is relapse intervention training in case something were to happen to put the addict off course.

The eight-step method is based off of a nationally-recognized program called "Love First" and has proven to be successful 80 to 85 percent of the time. Based on a survey of 800 recovering individuals, 70 percent admitted they stopped using dangerous substances after a family member or friend intervened.

Family Life Counseling will begin the Addiction Intervention Program in Mansfield, but over the course of the next few months the program will expand into Shelby, Galion, Millersburg, Danville, Loudonville, Norwalk, Willard and Bellevue.

"I believe it will work," Willis said. "I believe it will make everyone involved feel more confident and express their love for that individual despite struggles the whole family may have went through."

Author: Brittany Shock, Staff Reporter for Richland Source

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